Colchester Borough Council has been named ‘Entrepreneurial Council of the Year’ at the prestigious, annual LGC Awards 2020 in a virtual ceremony that celebrated the achievements and innovations of councils across the country.
Judges of the LGC Awards, dubbed the ‘biggest celebration of excellence in local government’, recognised the innovation, ambition and achievement shown by the Council and its wholly owned group of commercial companies – Colchester Amphora Trading Ltd (CATL), Colchester Amphora Energy Ltd (CAEL) and Colchester Amphora Homes Ltd (CAHL).
This is the council’s second top award of 2020 that nationally recognises its work with its commercial trading companies, having won ‘Best Commercial Council’ at the annual Municipal Journal (MJ) Achievement Awards earlier this month.
Cllr Mark Cory, Leader of Colchester Borough Council, said: “It is a real honour to have clinched this prestigious award and, for the second time in weeks, to have achieved national recognition for our entrepreneurial spirit and commercial strength.
“Councils have had to adapt over the last decade and this award shines a light on the inventive ways our commercial trading companies are helping to generate income, ploughing profits back into council services for the good of local people and businesses.
“Our partnership with Amphora enables us to promote and support the borough, not only for new business and investment, but also as a vibrant and welcoming place to live and raise families.”
Journalist and presenter of BBC’s Today programme Justin Webb hosted the virtual LGC (Local Government Chronicle) awards which took place on Wednesday 28th October. Colchester Borough Council, which had also been shortlisted in two other categories for ‘Driving Growth’ and ‘Digital Impact’ was announced ‘Entrepreneurial Council’ to a delighted online audience.
Adrian Pritchard (pictured), Chief Executive of Colchester Borough Council and Managing Director of Colchester Commercial (Holdings) Ltd, who accepted the award, said:: “I’m thrilled that we have scooped the top prize for Entrepreneurial Council in these prestigious national awards.
“This is a huge endorsement of the drive shown by the Council and the Amphora group of companies to pursue and deliver new and innovative ways to promote business, attract inward investment, create more jobs in the borough and deliver income which is returned to the borough council so it can continue to deliver good quality services to our residents and communities.”
Judges recognised the progress of the Amphora Group since its formation in 2018, including:
- Delivering a £95m mixed-tenure housebuilding programme of 408 new homes – 30% of them affordable (CAHL)
- Securing a nationally significant, £6.7 million carbon-cutting District Heat Network at Colchester Northern Gateway (CAEL)
- Organising a high-profile “place-making” programme of events featuring music and comedy acts with national appeal (CATL)
- Development of the 76-acre Colchester Northern Gateway Sports Park (CATL)
- Deployment of ultrafast gigabyte broadband to new homes and businesses across Colchester (CATL)
- Delivery and growth of ‘Helpline’ the council’s emergency response service for vulnerable people (CATL)
Cllr Theresa Higgins, Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services, said: “This award is a fantastic reflection of how well managed commercial enterprises can deliver services and assets in a business-like and commercial manner whilst retaining a public sector ethos.
“The financial contribution the Amphora companies make to the council puts us in the best possible position to face the significant financial challenges that lay ahead and will help us maintain healthy dividends which are so vital to support frontline services for residents and businesses.”
The awards ceremony was originally scheduled to take place in March 2020 but was postponed due to Covid-19. The nomination period for the 2020 awards preceded the pandemic.
At the ceremony, LGC editor Nick Golding thanked the sponsors of the awards, the judges and all the councils that submitted their entries, allowing others in the sector to learn from their work.